Charles Brownstein of Northern Transmissions asked Marty Frawley of Australian band The Twerps a few questions about, well music of course.
NT: The band really sounds like it has been influenced by the New Zealand Flying Nun label.
How much influence has this had on you.
MF:Yeah lots of people say that, I guess cause I just rip off all of those bands when I’m at home and I don’t have an idea of my own. We all love that Flying Nun scene, there are heaps of cool bands that don’t even get spoken about, everyone knows the Clean and the Bats but there are heaps more cool New Zealand bands that are killer too. We also try and sound as Australian as fuck too, cause that’s what we are. You’re better off sounding like what you are than trying to sound like something you’re not. Rick gave me that Clean compilation when we first met and we used to love how simple it was,
and it inspired us to think we could make songs like them. Pity we can’t still!
NT: What’s the story behind the band name, the Twerps? Your music has really amiable and
kind of wistful vibe to it, not really reflective of of your group title.
MF: Na sure as hell isn’t. We got asked to play our first gig and we didn’t have a band name, I can’t
remember why we came up with Twerps, but we were so sure that it would be the first and last gig that
it didn’t seem very important. Everyone picks on us cause we have a shit name…it makes me sad!
NT: The sound of the band is kind of an unpolished at times, but it works really well. Are you of the school of thought of not trying to overproduce and just let things come naturally.
MF:Well, when we write a song we usually just write it as quickly as possible and don’t over think it,
we like simple elements of the song, we are also not very musically talented.We are enjoying working more on the production of the sound when we are making records, but we just want to sound like what we will sound like live. Best not to give anyone any high expectations!
NT: Your dad played with Paul Kelly, you must have been exposed to loads of great music and musicians. How young were you when you started to play?
MF: I had piano lessons when I was like 8 for a year, then I didn’t really play an instrument till i was like 18. I loved music but didn’t really have a passion to play it, I was really into skating and sport, so when I couldn’t skate I would play guitar. My mum and dad were both into great music and all the musicians I met were just family friends, so I didn’t really see them as someone special, but know that I am a little older and am also trying to write music I really respect some of the paths they have chosen and how much they have accomplished. My old man never pushed me to play, but once I started he was really proud and stoked, I wish I had started earlier and we could have played more.
NT: Taking a look at the credits on the self titled album, there are lots of guest vocalists. When writing the album did you have pictures in your minds of who’d you want to sing with?
MF: Yeah I think I had just watched Gimme Some Truth the Lennon Doco and I really liked the way all his friends came in and played on the record. When my dad would make records he would do the same, he would get me in to hit a tambourine and try and get feedback on a guitar amp. It’s good to include all the people that inspire you and that you love around you when your being creative, I find! We didn’t have much of a plan of what people would be doing, but once they were there it all fell into place in my head.
NT: Some of your music has been released on Cassette in the U.S. ‘Night People’ do you plan to issue more music in this format, has it worked out well?
MF: Fuck yeah if someone wants us to put something out with them and we can, we’ll do it. I think
tape is great, it makes for more of a collective piece and they look and sound great! Shawn opened up
a whole new world for us and we love him for it! Our friends from Melbourne released a single on a
computer disc, I don’t know how people got to listen to it but I thought that was cool!
NT: How do you compare the gig crowds in Australia to North America
MF: People in America are amazing, it’s hard to say what crowd your gonna get on any given night, but some of our best shows have been in America and we got really psyched on that! There is a big music scene in Melbourne, so sometimes it can be hard to make sure everyone is digging what you’re doing! We are so excited to go back to America and play…we LOVE it!!
NT: If you could only take five records with you?
John Lennon – Mind Games
Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
The Clean – Boodle Boodle Boodle
Velvet Underground – White Light White Heat
The Go Betweens – Tallulah